P.G. Steward of Charities Report Nov. 2017

FODC Local Welfare Schemes

Seminars for Almoners and Stewards of Charities

Application Forms for the Masonic Charities

Our Charities

Devenish Tower

In the UK Freemasonry is the largest contributor to charitable causes after the National Lottery. In Ireland it supports many non-masonic charities such as Alzheimer's, Laura Lynn Foundation, the Samaritans and Cochlear Ear and Kidney Research. In Tyrone and Fermanagh local lodges regularly raise funds for local charities such as the Children's Hospice at Killadeas. This is why Masonry regards itself as "a part of society" rather than being "apart from society"

However "Charity begins at home" and the task of helping to relieve poverty and distress amongst brethren and their families is one of the foundations stones of Freemasonry. When Freemasons or their dependents fall upon hard times they may look to the various Masonic Charities for financial assistance. Indeed it is the duty of a Mason to be look out for brethren who are ill or in distressed circumstances to offer help and provide support.

The advent of the Welfare State and the availability of a range of social benefits has not lessened the need for charity. When gaps are discovered in the system the Order is well placed to help; for example a brother whose child was in a hospital far from home was given assistance with the costs of visiting the child and supporting it through its illness.

In Ireland there are six main Masonic Charities that are supported by contributions from brethren. They are;

The Victoria Jubilee Masonic Benevolent Fund

Established in 1888, it provides Annuities for distressed Freemasons and their spouses from all parts of the Irish Constitution.

Masonic Girls Benefit Fund

Like the Masonic Boys Benefit Fund, this Fund provides educational and maintenance grants for the daughters of deceased members who are in education and assists the adult daughters of deceased members who themselves have children in education.

The Masonic Boys Benefit Fund

Provides educational maintenance grants for the sons of deceased members who have fallen on hard times and who have children in education.

The Masonic Welfare Fund

Established in 1995, the Masonic Welfare Fund is the youngest of our charities. Its purpose is to relieve cases of poverty, hardship, sickness and distress among Freemasons, their wives, widows, children and other dependents who may not be eligible under the criteria of other schemes. Its objectives include furthering the education of such persons by awarding scholarships, maintenances allowance, outfits, clothes, tools etc. to assist entry into a trade, profession or service, or to set up business. The fund is able to offer assistance to other Charities whether or not they are connected with the Fraternity of Freemasons.

Masonic Havens

The Fund was set up in 1975 to provide sheltered accommodation for Masons and/or their spouses. At present one facility is located in Monkstown, Co Dublin consisting of 9 bungalows and 25 apartments. Another facility is in Virginia, Co Cavan with 27 ultra-modern bungalows. There is also a nursing home in Virginia catering for 45 elderly people and these do not necessarily require a connection with the Order.

Masonic Medical Research

Set up in 1989 after the Grand Master's Festival of Charity, its purpose is to facilitate medical research in Ireland. In the past it has supported research into cochlear implants for autistic children and into renal failure and is presently assisting with research into the causes and treatment of MRSA and other related diseases.

In addition to the above there are a number of other charities serving particular needs in defined parts of the masonic community. A booklet on all the Masonic Charities is available on request from Grand Lodge, Freemason Hall, 17, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2

Source: "An Initial Guide to Freemasonry in Ireland" published by Grand Lodge